Serenity Group Recovery Message for Pastors

A memo to pastors…
As pastors who minister and lead in a culture where
addictions of all kinds exist, we are constantly deluged with the
direct and indirect consequences of those addictions. Our
options, it seems to me, are two; bury our head in the sand and
hope that it all works out somehow or take an active role in our
community and bring the kingdom of God to bear on these
overwhelming needs.
Here in Oroville we’re committed to the latter. We have
brought the recovery ministry into the life of our church. We
are working towards a fully integrated recovery ministry that
embraces the Mission, Vision and Values of our local church. The
challenge has been to maintain a balanced focus in terms of our
core ministries and not get too focused in any one area of
ministry (recovery or otherwise).
One of the challenges that recovery ministries have in
many churches is that they wind up being an adjunct to the focus
of the church instead of a reflection of the love and care for our
communities at large. When recovery ministry is not seen as a
core ministry of the church it can create a disconnect which can
result in an ungodly attitude of “those people over there”…or an
“us versus them” mentality. It becomes something we do as
opposed to who we are.
What makes our Serenity ministry different from other
church recovery programs is our approach to the issue of 12
Step. We fully embrace the 12 Step recovery ministries in our
community. We see ourselves as the place where people who are
connected to other AA and NA groups in our city can come to and
feel safe whether they know Jesus as their ‘Higher Power’ or not.
We call this our Front Porch environment. It allows us a deeper
penetration into the overall recovery programs into the city. As a
1
result of this approach our leaders are welcome into, and often
speak at, those programs.
When people come to our Serenity program on our church
campus they are invited into a large group environment that is
similar to any other recovery program in the city. Birthdays are
celebrated, chips are given, and testimonies are heard. They are
then gently introduced to smaller group environments where they
can explore who Jesus is and the healing and freedom He
provides. We do this through groups like:
· Men and women groups
· Anger classes
· Couples groups
· Serenity 12Step and Third Step studies
· Pure Desire Sexual Purity Classes
· Clarence Snyder 12 Step Study
· Early History of AA Class
We call these groups our Living Room environments. It is a
place where God is freely discussed and people can come into a
more personal knowledge of Christ.
In the following pages you will see a model of recovery
ministry called “Serenity”. Our church has been pursuing this
ministry for nearly 20 years. We’ve still got a lot to learn! We
have two men (and their wives) who have spearheaded the
ministry from its inception. Kenn Mariano and Dale Marsh are our
champion leaders in the area of recovery ministries. Dale is
currently on the Elder track through SDIM and serves as our
Recovery Pastor and Kenn has served as a board leader in our
church for a couple of decades as well as a host of other ministry
‘jobs’. Both of these men are godly, stable and key leaders in our
community.
2
Through the hard work of a handful of committed and
dedicated men and women God has built a vibrant and growing
recovery ministry where people in our community can come and
receive hope and healing. God is allowing us to truly see our
community change…”one life at a time.”
I encourage you to stop by the resource tent and speak with
Dale or Kenn or one of our pastors. I would be more than happy to
speak with you about issues that pertain to the nuts and bolts of
how a recovery ministry can fit into the overall Mission of your
church.
Bless you as you advance the kingdom in your city!

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About mauihistorian

Uses pen name Dick B.: Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered A.A. member with over 25 years of continuous sobriety. Published 42 titles and over 650 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Christian Recovery Movement. www.dickb.com
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